When the kidneys fail completely to work it is
termed end-stage kidney disease (ESRD)
, and this usually comes after chronic
kidney disease (CKD)
. It has been observed that people with poor kidney health
tend to develop heart problems. But is the opposite also true? Does heart
health affect kidney health?
To find out, Paul Muntner and his colleagues at
University of Alabama at Birmingham investigated the link between Life's Simple
7 components of heart health with both ESRD incidence and consequent death
among 3093 participants with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease.
The American Heart Association's
Life's Simple 7 is the guidelines to key health factors and behaviors that keep
your heart healthy, lower your risks of heart disease and stroke, and improve
your quality of life. The guidelines include the following seven steps-
1. Get active, that is, increase
your physical activity.
2. Control your cholesterol by
eating foods low in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats.
3. Eat better by including foods high in whole grain fiber, lean
protein, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
4. Manage your blood pressure.
5. Lose weight if you are
overweight or obese. Bring your BMI (body mass index) down below 25. If your
BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are at significant risk for heart health problems.
6. Reduce blood sugar by reducing
consumption of simple sugars found in sugary desserts and sugary beverages and
also by exercising regularly (moderate intensity aerobic exercises are fine).
7. Stop smoking. Do whatever it takes to quit.
The four-year study, where 160
participants developed kidney failure and 610 participants died, showed
Compared with individuals who
had zero or one of the Life's Simple 7 components in the "ideal"
range, those with two, three, and four ideal factors had progressively lower
risks for kidney failure.
People with four ideal factors
cut their risk by nearly half.
No participant with five to
seven ideal factors developed kidney failure.
Those having four ideal factors
cut their risk of dying by more than 40 percent.
The authors concluded that
maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle may also help protect chronic kidney
disease patients from developing kidney failure and dying prematurely.
"A favorable cardiovascular risk
profile among individuals with CKD associates with a reduced risk for ESRD and
mortality," they reported but they were not sure whether the severity of kidney
disease disproves this theory or mediates this association and suggested
"This study highlights the
importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not just on patients' risk for
developing heart disease but also for the prevention of kidney failure," said
"This study provides an
opportunity to reconsider and reevaluate our approach to modifying health
behaviors and factors in individuals living with CKD," commented Andrew Chin
and Lorien Dalrymple from University of California, in an accompanying